10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Kay Van Wey shares expert's suggestions on how to find a good physician.

Medical experts suggest 10 questions to ask when deciding which doctor to choose.

When we hear how carefully we should research our health care providers we choose, it’s not a surprise. It’s well known that medical and hospital mistakes are out of control in the United States.

We all want to have the best doctors caring for ourselves and our families, so we ask for recommendations from friends and do a little research on our own most of the time.

The Cincinnati Enquirer asked several experts, that included a medical malpractice lawyer, a representative of the state medical board and two bioethicists, to offer some questions to patients that they should ask their physicians.

But, while consumers are told to be our own watchdogs when it comes to medical care, accurate answers are not always so easily accessible.
You can use the following 10 questions these experts suggested to help you in your search for your next physician:

  1. How many times have you done this procedure?
    Is your board certification up to date?
  2. What are the potential complications? How often have you encountered them?
  3. What tests might I need? What are the tests for? What will the results tell me? How safe are the tests?
  4. Why do I need this treatment, and are there any alternatives?
  5. What are the potential side effects of any prescribed medications?
  6. Could this medication interact with other medications I take (either prescribed or over-the-counter)?
  7. Has any state medical board taken any formal action against you anywhere in the country?
  8. If facing surgery: What are your success, failure and complication rates? How do those compare with your peers?
  9. What’s the hospital’s infection rate?
  10. Do you honor your patients’ advanced directives? How involved do you expect the patients’ family members to be if outside input becomes necessary?

Hopefully, these questions will guide you in your sometimes complex and overwhelming search to find the perfect doctor for you and your family. After all, who we choose to take care of our health is a critical decision, and one that can’t afford to get wrong.

A special thank you to Enquirer research of Cincinnati for the work you’ve done to ensure consumers stay safe.

Source: Enquirer research


Zofran Dangers Hidden from Pregnant Women

Kay Van Wey helps victims of birth defects caused by Zofran.

Zofran is an anti-nausea drug which has been widely marketed to pregnant women as a morning sickness remedy. Lawsuits are being filed against the manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, alleging that they concealed their knowledge that the drug could cause serious birth defects and marketed the drug to pregnant women without approval from the FDA.

80 percent of women suffer from nausea or vomiting during their pregnancy, often referred to as “morning sickness”. This can become quite severe, so several women turned to Zofran to keep themselves and their babies safe. Instead, the babies suffered from severe birth defects that would have a profound impact on their future.

Birth defects that have been linked to Zofran include:

  • Heart defects (holes in the heart)
  • Cleft lip
  • Cleft palate
  • Club foot
  • Craniosynostosis (skull deformities)

The legal claims brought against Glaxo center around the cause of birth defects and whether the drugmaker is liable for injuries that were suffered by babies whose mothers took the drug. Prior to getting FDA approval, GSK had not conducted any studies on the effects of the drug on pregnant women.

In 1992, GSK began receiving adverse reaction reports of birth defects which were associated with Zofran. However, GSK never disclosed these reports to pregnant women or their physicians. There have also been medical studies which have proven a link between an increased risk of a baby being born with birth defects when the mother has taken Zofran.

Pregnant women would never have taken Zofran if they had known of the danger to their unborn child. However, we wonder if GSK didn’t want women to know because it it would have decreased their profits from the sale of Zofran.

Learn more about dangerous drugs and secrets of the pharmaceutical companies by downloading this free resource: Prescription Drug Safety: 10 Secrets the Pharmaceutical Companies DON’T Want You to Know


Dangerous Opioid Side Effects Lead to Death

Opioid pain killers cause death

Opioid medications have been used for hundreds of years to treat both pain and mental problems. In the last 20 years, however, there has been a 600% increase in opioid prescribing in the United States. Though America accounts for only 4.6% of the world population, we consume 80% of the world’s opioids. This has led to to a huge increase in opioid addiction and deaths from overdosing.

Some believe that this increase in prescribing is due to the belief that medical professionals hold that opioids are safer than other pain medication alternatives. This is simply not the case. Opioids are extremely dangerous and are taking entirely too many innocent lives. Doctors must use better judgement when prescribing them.

Opioid side effects

Though opioids are very helpful in treatment of pain, they have many negative side effects that are often not considered upon prescribing them. Side effects can include:

  • Gastrointestinal – Constipation, nausea and vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Impaired recovery from injury or surgery – Opioids following injury actually delay recovery and increase the risk of permanent damage.
  • Psychological and Physical Side-effects – Opioids taken before and after surgery can affect recovery time and outcome, and can lead to depression.
  • Cognitive impairment – Larger doses of opioids lead to drowsiness, lethargy, reduced spatial memory capacity, impaired performance in working memory, and even death.
  • Respiratory depression – Opioids adversely affect the respiratory system. High doses of opioids induce sleep and slow down breathing. This often leads to suffocation and death, and is the reason that so many overdoses occur.

Abuse that Leads to Death

Opioids account for more deaths than any other medication. More than 16,000 people die each year from an opioid overdose.

Many who lose their lives are taking opioids that were not prescribed to them. Opioids may even be responsible for many more deaths than we think because the deaths are frequently attributed to other causes. Opioid abuse often progresses to intravenous use, which may result in HIV or hepatitis C infections. Abuse of these drugs leads to impairment that can be responsible for car accidents, falls and more.

If you, a friend or a loved one is abusing opioids, do all that you can to find them help. Awareness of the dangerous side effects just may lead to fewer serious injuries and deaths.



Toxic Antibiotics Continue to Destroy Lives

FLQ Antibiotic Risks

I read an article today about a vibrant 33-year old man, musician, and personal trainer who was in the prime of his life when a very preventable tragedy struck. Today, he can barely play his guitar without suffering in pain.

His whole life changed last summer when he ended up in the emergency room with what was thought to be colitis. He was prescribed Ciprofloxin (generic form of Cipro), a very dangerous fluoroquinolone antibiotic that has been linked to peripheral neuropathy. He was unaware of the risks and began taking the prescription immediately, as he was instructed to do by the doctor.

He began feeling very fatigued every time he would stand. He heard constant ringing in his ears, had trouble walking, and his shoulders and tendons were aching. Stories like these are increasing and can be found just about anywhere you research the dangers of fluoroquinolone antibiotics. Now, it’s about awareness and prevention. Here’s what you should know…

  • From November 1997 to May 2011, more than 85,000 adverse reactions to Levaquin were reported to the Food and Drug Administration, including 1,174 deaths.

Until more research is done, many medical professionals are petitioning the FDA, requesting stronger black box warnings. Clearly, there has not been enough research, and the lack of information and warnings has ruined many lives and caused irreversible damage.

Currently, there is an insert in the prescription package that warns of tendon rupture and neurologic damage, but many doctors and patients remain unaware of the risks of FLQ antibiotics.

According to Bayer Corporation, the FDA issued a drug safety communication requiring that,

…the drug labels and medication guides for all fluoroquinolone antibacterial drugs be updated to better describe the serious side effect of peripheral neuropathy.

Johnson & Johnson, Levaquin’s manufacturer, stated that, since 2004, the label has warned doctors and patients of these potential adverse effects related to peripheral neuropathy. Despite this claim, doctors continue to prescribe the drugs for minor ailments, where safer drugs would be a much better road to travel.

If your doctor prescribes fluoroquinolone antibiotics to you, ask about the risks and request a safer alternative so that you don’t have to go through what countless others already have. Stay informed, as always, and be your own advocate.


6 Ways to Stay Safer in the Hospital

Hospital Mistakes

Due to the high number of hospital mistakes and defective medical devices today, many patients end up leaving the hospital even sicker than when they entered. Our expectations when entering the hospital should be that we will treated with dignity and respect. This should be a given.

This is very important…so important that a recent national Consumer Reports’ survey of 1,200 patients showed that being treated with dignity and respect while in the hospital directly correlates with patient safety.

Those who reported treatment that was less than respectful were found to be two and a half times more likely to be a victim of a medical error, such as the following:

  • a hospital acquired infection
  • a wrong diagnosis
  • an adverse drug reaction
  • a prescribing error

According to Consumer Reports, every day almost 2,000 people on average pick up an infection and about 1,100 preventable errors occur. Hospital medical errors are linked to 440,000 deaths annually. Preventable errors.

Taking the following actions when you or a loved one find yourselves checking into the hospital just might make the difference between life and death.

Speak Up, Ask Questions

Do not feel like you are being a “pest” by asking questions and having concerns. Staying silent because you are worried about being labeled a “difficult patient” by the staff can be quite dangerous.

Make Sure You Understand

Be persistent when it comes to making sure you understand everything you are told, and discuss unclear information with staff until you have a thorough understanding. Tell a nurse how much pain you’re in, ask about recommended procedures and tests that are being run, and make sure you understand the side effects of the drugs prescribed to you.

Choose the Right Hospital

Research from the American Journal of Managed Care showed that those who received satisfactory care were much less likely to return to the hospital within 30 days of being released (after heart attacks, heart surgery or pneumonia specifically). Do your research and choose the hospital you feel offers the best care.

Be Sure You’re Seen as a Person

Help healthcare providers see you as more than just a patient or a diagnosis. Share stories with them about your family and talk to them about your personal life and who you are outside of the hospital walls. This can break down walls that may be up between the medical staff and yourself.

Ask the Doctor to Sit Down

With doctors and nurses using electronic devices to look up information and enter information they gather while speaking with you, they seem to rarely make eye contact. This can make us feel hesitant to ask questions for fear of interrupting the doctor or nurse. Ask them to sit down and speak with you.

Have People With You

People report that they feel they have received better treatment when they have somebody with them, whether it be an advocate or a family member. It’s also important to have somebody with you to make sure everything the doctor explains is completely understood by you and you advocate.

Let’s face it, we would all like to avoid hospitals, and are very lucky to go a lifetime without some type of experience in a healthcare facility. If you watch out for yourself when we enter these walls, you will have a much happier and healthier experience. In fact, it may mean the difference between the life and death of you or a loved one some day.


An Elderly Lady’s Story of Antibiotic Poisoning

Cipro Injures Elderly Lady

Original story source: fqwallofpain.com

One of the websites that I have begun following, Fluoroquinolone Wall of Pain contains numerous stories (written by Lisa Bloomquist) about those who have suffered the horrible adverse effects of fluoroquinolone antibiotics. The website is a forum where hundreds of victims of FLQ antibiotic poisoning tell their stories of suffering.

Visiting the site, you may be shocked, as I was, to see the amount of people who have suffered greatly from taking prescription antibiotics. Thanks to people like Lisa, this epidemic is finally gaining some much needed attention, and I’d like to help spread the word as well.

The victims who have been poisoned by these antibiotics sometimes refer to themselves as people who have been “floxed” and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of them. You may be quite familiar with these antibiotics without realizing it at first. You, a family member, or a friend have more than likely taken one or more of these antibiotics at some point in your life. You might know them by their more commonly used names: Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, Floxin, Maxaquin or Noroxin.

The pain and suffering caused by these drugs usually begins immediately after taking the first few pills of your prescription. FLQ antibiotics are often prescribed for minor illnesses, like urinary tract infections or strep throat. However, this practice should not continue. These are illnesses that can be treated by antibiotics that are not capable of causing such severe nerve damage.

People who begin suffering the symptoms of FLQ toxicity often don’t realize that their medication is what is causing the problem. Also, doctors often misdiagnose the symptoms experienced and encourage victims to continue taking the very drug that is harming them.

Therefore, awareness is critical.

There was one story in particular of the many I have read that caught my interest today. It is one about an elderly lady whose life has been seriously altered by Cipro. Though she struggles to type or write now because of the FLQ toxicity she suffered, she managed to write her story of suffering. It began like this:

I was born in 1908 and will be 107 in May if Cipro lets me live that long….I have lost my typing “touch” so have to be brief. I appear much younger than my age…..using a computer for over 30 years and an iPad for 3 ……just balanced my checkbook to the penny….so I am not the average old lady.

She was prescribed Levaquin two times and Cipro twice as well, all in a time frame of four years. Her last prescription of Cipro changed everything for her. Mentally, she would never be quite the same, giving up some of her usual favorite daily activities like spending time with her nine grandchildren, reading and emailing friends.

  • She suffered many side effects from the Cipro, including:
  • balance problems (she now has a constant fear of falling)
  • loss of memory, strength, energy and sleep
  • itching spells
  • shoulder and hand pain
  • stabbing pains that move around
  • personality changes
  • loss of feeling in the left side of her body periodically
  • involuntary jerking movements at times.

This once vibrant, energetic lady who should be enjoying these years of her life felt as if she was just “going through the motions”. She had many of her most precious days robbed from her because of the toxic harm to her nerves caused by Cipro.

I am thankful for the courage this amazing woman has that enabled her to share her special story so that others may become aware of the dangers of fluoroquinolone antibiotics. By telling her story, she is preventing others from suffering through what she has had to endure. For this, I thank you. Again, I reiterate how important it is to do the research on any medication, prescribed or over-the-counter, that you take.


Kay Van Wey Featured in Interview: Dangerous Drug Prescribing Practices

Post first appeared on VanWeyLaw.com

Larry Bodine, Editor and Chief of PersonalInjury.com, interviewed Kay Van Wey about dangerous practices that pharmaceutical companies use to get their drugs into the hands of consumers. The tactics used place profits over public safety and endanger all of us.

After reading Kay’s article about the tactics that Big Pharma utilizes to persuade doctors to prescribe their drugs, Bodine interviewed attorney and author Kay Van Wey, asking that she share her knowledge on the secrets of the pharmaceutical industry.

You can learn more by downloading her free resource, 10 Secrets the Pharmaceutical Companies Don’t Want You to Know, instantly. Doctors are prescribing more drugs today than ever before. It is imperative that we become aware and stay alert about the dangers and risks surrounding dangerous drugs and prescribing practices.


Levaquin Continues to Endanger Lives

Kay Van Wey shares the dangers of fluoroquinolone antibiotics

Recently I read an article that questioned why levaquin, a dangerous fluoroquinolone antibiotic, hasn’t been removed from the market, even after it seems to be causing serious adverse effects and may even be related to several deaths.

The article noted that, in 1992, the fluoroquinolone broad-spectrum, anti-infective drug Omniflox was taken off the market by the FDA after it was found to be releted to severe adverse events in the first three months of being on the market.

The move was made quckly by the FDA following reports to the manufacturer and to the FDA regarding its serious adverse effects. Yet today, dangerous fluoroquinolone antibiotics remain on the market and they continue to be prescribed for illnesses that do not require such a strong antibiotic. Because of this, lives are ruined and deaths occur that seem to point only to the terrible effects of these dangerous drugs.

The FDA is well aware of the damage these drugs are doing, yet they remain on the market. It is a shame that drug manufacturers value their profits over the safety of consumers, and that the FDA allows the damage to occur. This only reinforces how very important it is that we take our health into our own hands and become aware of the effects of drugs that we ingest.

To learn more about the dangerous effects of taking a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, read The Hidden Signs of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotice Poisoning.

(To read the above mentioned article in its entirity: Why Hasn’t Levaquin Been Taken Off The Market?, on Floxiehope.com)


Levaquin, Cipro and Avelox Could Ruin Your Life

fluoroquinolone antibiotic lawyer

Taking your doctor’s advice for antibiotic prescription drugs might actually cause you to experience damaging side effects that can change your life forever. You may not realize that drugs like Cipro and Levaquin can cause nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy) that is irreversible.

Detecting Reactions

Taking an antibiotic by mouth or getting an injection is supposed to make us feel better. When we experience negative reactions, we have reason to be concerned for our health. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning about the connection between peripheral neuropathy and fluoroquinolone drugs. Symptoms that you may experience include these feelings in your arms or legs:

  • pain
  • numbnes
  • shooting pain
  • tingling sensations
  • weakness
  • changes in response to light, touch, temperature or pain
  • changes in sensing the body’s position

Damage to your nerves can happen at any time during your treatment, and it can last for months or years after you stop taking the drugs.

Understanding Peripheral Neuropathy

A condition that damages the nerves that send information from your brain to your body, peripheral neuropathy can change your life. The FDA’s warning requires manufacturers to put stronger labels on packaging so that the dangers of using FLQ drugs are clear. Inadequate labeling can prevent you from understanding fluoroquinolone antibiotic side effects until the damage is done.

Suffering the consequences of damage to your nerves can change your quality of life and make you unable to enjoy customary activities. Tolerating pain, tingling sensations, numbness and burning feelings can make working or caring for your family difficult and unpleasant.

Considering the possibility that damage to your nerves may last for the rest of your life is a cause for extreme concern. The attorneys at the Van Wey Law realize this, so they are investigating cases like yours, and standing with you and against large pharmaceutical companies who conceal truth at the expense of your health.

Evaluating the Importance of Antibiotics

Almost everyone has to take antibiotics from time to time, and they often help you recover from infections that bacteria and some parasites cause. Manufacturers provide information on product labels that indicate your risk of harm when you take them. The FDA has found that labels on Cipro and Levaquin did not provide an adequate warning about their harmful side effects.

You can present your experiences to the attorneys at Van Wey Law who understand the impact of FLQ antibiotics on unsuspecting victims like you. The actions that you take may help you avoid ruining your life. If you have suffered from them, contact Van Wey Law today for a free evaluation.

For more information, read: The Hidden Signs of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotic Poisoning


Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome: A Letter to the Senator

flq dangerous drugs

On May 19th of 2014, Jay S. Cohen M.D., wrote a letter to the Senate Committee on Health, Education and Labor about Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome.

Dr. Cohen had been a faculty member at the University of California, San Diego, for three decades and has published more than 20 articles on drug safety in leading medical journals. Based on his articles and books, the FDA chose him as the keynote speaker at a FDA conference in 2004. He had a lot to say about this dangerous drug. The beginning of his letter states that…

Serious adverse reactions to fluoroquinolone antibiotics (FQs) have been reported in medical journals and to the FDA since the 1980s. Although the FDA has increased the warnings on these drugs (Levaquin, Cipro, Avelox, Floxin, Norfolk, Factive), my analysis of FDA data shows that reports continue to climb in number. As of February 2014, approximately 45,000 individual cases of fluoroquinolone toxicity have been reported to the FDA. And, as studies have proven, the FDA receives reports of only 1%-5% of the actual numbers of adverse reactions that occur.

To read the entire letter to the senators, click here.

To learn more, read The Hidden Dangers of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics